It never seems to happen when you're watching a movie, looking at your camera or eating dinner, but the moment that you are reading a book, reading a newspaper, writing a letter, or on your computer there is a cat who wants to be in your way. They aren't subtle about it either. In fact, they are outright demanding. You push them away and they head butt their way back into your spot. You hold them and pet them to try to appease their sudden interest in you and then you set them down... they purr and wrap themselves around you - and whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish. Is it their way of trying to communicate with you? They try to infuse your work with psychic powers so that you can finally understand them and what they have been trying to say for what seems like forever? (Feed Me!, Milk!, Pet Me! ... or whatever it is that they are so persistent about.)
Women and CATS
What is it that they say about women with cats? They are crazy? Especially if they have 3 or more. Well, it looks like I may be one of those women. (But who's to say I wasn't crazy before the third one?) When I was a little girl I loved cats more than anything in the world. I remember story books with pictures of kittens tumbling out of baskets with ribbons around their necks. That was the way I saw my relationship to cats - cartoon-ish and sweet. I would see a cat in town and call "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" all the way home as I coaxed as many as I could home with me. They didn't all make it that far, but some would. When I would inevitably be told that I can't bring home every cat I saw I would insist that I didn't - that it followed me home. If I had a tuna I would have bribed them I swear. And my poor cats, I would dress them up in my doll's clothes and have tea parties with them. They were always very forgiving, and loved me anyway. At least they always came back for more bowls of milk.
So here I am with three cats in the house. Two weeks ago I was asking anyone to take the third, but no one has - and now I'm falling in love with it. He comes running when he hears my name, and he loves to sleep curled up at my neck. Max and Toby play with him constantly and he puts up with it pretty well. He doesn't run from them and even tries to attack with his ferocious little teeth and claws. It's very comical. I've been taking him with me if I'll be away from home for a few hours so that I can feed him and he does well in the car. Below are some videos for you - isn't he adorable?!
Toby, Scraggles & Max
Kitten today - happier, healthier and loved
Scraggles - on the back of the couch
In Kevin's shoes - I hope he didn't leave any 'presents' - that's what got him kicked out of our bed at night.
Toby didn't want to be left out of the pictures.
Remember the mulch from the last update? Our neighbor dropped off a truck load. It took me one weekend to haul it all into the back yard, and the next weekend for Kevin to re-chip it using our chipper / shredder. I wanted to show you before and after pictures.
This is the size the mulch was...
...and this is what it all chipped down to - look back to the last update to see the original pile.
Now I just need to spread it all out and roto-till it into the ground - then we're off and planting again.
We got the electricity working and all the plugs are labeled. Everything works beautifully. So it was time to try out the donut machine - it actually works. We had the air conditioning going, lights, fan, exhaust fan, donut maker, mixer, a radio and a drill - just to make sure that we would be fine - everything ran perfectly.
The mix (50 lb bag) says to add half as much water by weight as the mix. So we used 2 lbs of mix and 1 lb of water. We thought that the mix would never run out - we were cooking for hours! Neither of us liked the size of the donuts - they seemed too thin. It didn't matter what hole size we chose - some of the donuts turned into figure 8's. So I need to figure the mix ratio out still.
We were going to check out the plumbing this weekend but didn't get around to it. The fresh water tank has a crack in it - I have a mix to fix it. Then we need to fill up the tanks and see that the water will run, drain and heat as it should.
Below is a video of the donuts going through the process - it's pretty quick... check it out.
I wanted to share some updated pictures of the barnyard fowl (even though we have no barn - pity.) Buddy still has a 'plume' in her hair. It helps us to tell them apart easily. We would know who was who anyway as soon as she opened her mouth - boy can she make noise! Buster's noise is so quiet in comparison.
It's been really hot again. It was 107° F yesterday and expected to stay hot all this week. The chickens are coping as best they can. They have been staying in the shade, drinking lots of water, panting - and taking dust baths.
Buddy & Buster
Do you notice that step stool in the garden in the middle picture? That's a funny story as to why it is there. We had been working in the yard and for some reason we had shut the door to the chicken run. When it's dusk, the chickens & ducks too, put them selves away. They walk through the run, into the coop and roost for the night. Well, they couldn't go to bed, so they did the next best thing. They climbed (flew?) onto the top of the coop - and I couldn't get them down. Out came the step stool and I did the best I could with a broom. Eventually I had to call Kevin to help me finish the job. We eventually got them back into the coop, and haven't forgotten the door since. The step stool however was forgotten, and until it showed up in the picture, I'd not even noticed that I left it out there.
Another funny thing happened on the farm this last week. Our neighbor Angel came over and rang the door bell. Max went crazy barking at him. When I go to the door he begged me not to open the door and let the dog out. He came over to tell me that two of my chickens were in his back yard - (oops!) I grabbed the laundry basket (it has a lid) and headed over. One had already flown back over the fence to home, but one of the barred rock roosters was running around. Juana (not sure I spelled that right - but she's Angel's wife) told me that he looked like soup. I ran around trying to catch him and he stayed just out of reach. Finally I got hold of his tail feathers and pulled him into me. He sure can squawk! I got him home and they haven't gone back over that I'm aware of.
George, the rabbit was out today though. I saw him being chased by one of the cats in the neighborhood. The neighbor across the street said he saw him running back towards the house, but I haven't found him yet. He and Rex usually come out at dusk as the chickens are about to go to bed - they like their hand outs without competition from the birds.
You would think I'd be grossed out handling meal worms and beetles. There was a time that this was true - but no longer. I've probably said it before but will again - I'm raising the worms for the chickens. I'm letting the first batch of worms turn into beetles and it's their off-spring that will become the food. I currently have 3 drawers of the creatures. The first drawer is where I put the original meal worms - (If you want to try this, just go to the pet store and get them, they will be refrigerated to slow down their life cycle. Don't order them online like I first did - those all died.)
So then as the worms turn into beetles I've been moving them into a second drawer. It didn't take long to see them mating. (OK I thought that the rabbits were mating too and now I find they are both male - am I missing something in my education? You be the judge.)
I then read on the net this weekend that they will often eat their eggs and emerging worms - and that though I won't see the eggs or the smallest of worms, that they will be there. So the beetles have, for the most part, been together for a couple of weeks, so I'm guessing that there are probably eggs somewhere in the bedding. (Oatmeal, & Bran) I moved the beetles to another drawer and am hoping in a few weeks to see little adolescent meal worms - if this works right, I should have thousands of them. Plenty to feed to the chickens without worrying about using all my stock.
I also have cut up pieces of apple, potato and now carrot in each bin. I put half a toilet paper roll in so that they can have darkness and it's easy to find the beetles under there. Also every few days I'm putting a slightly damp paper towel in with them. They go crazy over it - on the bottom side that is.
When I find the worms have turned to beetles, I transfer them from drawer #1 to drawer #3 - so that they all can continue to have a beetle orgy. The top drawer looks like almost nothing is living, but I still find beetles every couple of days.
Sorting beetles from the meal worms
Drawer # 1 before sort
Drawer after sorting beetles from the meal worms - notice the paper towel on the left - the cling to it.
Have I mentioned before that I hate the heat?
Yes, of course I have! The heat is what screws me up with knowing what to plant and when. Can I plant watermelon in this temperature? Will it shrivel up in the heat? Stop growing in a month when it gets cold? How long does it need to stay warm for? And when do people plant strawberries here? Since I'm not sure, I'm just planting everything - and forcing myself to go outside in the heat in order to do it.
I've been filling the brick holes with dirt and either planting seed, or transplanting. As for the seed, I bought a box of coffee stirrers and have labeled them (I sure hope the marker doesn't come off) Nothing is in rows, and there is not much rhyme or reason to it. I've even planted squash and melon in the holes. I figure that only the root needs the dirt, the rest can grow up, or rest on the ground. I have herbs, vegetables and flowers all mixed side by side - whatever struck my fancy at the time.
Some (not all) of the flowers I planted in the brick holes long ago when I planted the root crops have started to come up. For the ones that still have nothing, I filled up fuller with dirt and re-planted. I was going to replant the root crop bed, but they have started to come up too. I'm sure I'll have a small harvest (thanks to the chickens getting in there and rooting around) but I want to see what makes it. So I've also planted root crops in the brick holes - onions, turnips, beets, carrots...
I think it'll look quite pretty once all the blocks are growing green.
In other news...
I want to welcome my newest grand baby to the world. Luke Gregory Patterson was born on September 2nd. Though I haven't met him yet, I hope to one day soon.
Happy birthday to my beautiful daughter in law, Joanna on September 19th
And I'm really looking forward to the next couple of days because Jason, Joanna and Cara are coming down from Washington and have found time in their schedule to visit with Kevin and me.
I found this band years ago and love them... Below is a link to one of my favorite songs. I hope you enjoy - until next time...